Rush Limbaugh Howard Stern
Whoda thot small town mediocre Pennsylvania disc
jockey Jeff Christie would become a radio superstar
by changing to his birth moniker of Rush Limbaugh
just in time to take advantage of the death of the
Fairness Doctrine back in the late 80�s and
becoming a talk show host.
The man millions love and others love to hate has
signed to continue his daily kilowatt ranting with
Clear Channel�s Premiere radio until he reaches
retirement at the age of 65 in 2016.
= = = = =
Given the shaky financial status of both Clear Channel
and Howard Stern�s Sirus, one can only wonder if
Rush and Howard will actually bank the millions they�ve
been promised. Of course, the memory of the media is
limited in their hoopla claim of Rush's payday being
record setting when in fact Howard's was greater.
With the �deal� merging Sirus and XM still in limbo
and WiFi presenting a challenge to the future
of satellite and terrestrial radio, its a good thing
Rush and Howard pocketed major signing
bonuses. The pay out could be less than they think.
Meanwhile a nervous virus has taken root at XM
where many realize their continued employment
is precarious. Either XM will sink or Mel Karmazin
will swoop in to Sirusize XM.
= = = = =
He's keeping quiet, but it's a smart move
by WLS giving Erich Mancow Mueller a foot in the
door that will probably lead to his full time return to
Chicago radio as he does some �fill� this month.
He�s been without a windy city stage, since Emmis
brought his curtain down two years ago.
= = = = =
KILT in Houston was one of the most legendary Top 40
radio stations in history and besides staffed by
celebrated talents, in it�s heyday was managed by
Bill Weaver who wrote �Triple Double Cross� before
his passing last year. It�s a great read, shedding new
light on the assassination of JFK.
Order it here
Clear Chanel board
And, long time pal Ted Atkins, a programmer of
several giant radio stations during his career, has been
putting the finishing touches to his remembrance of
Phil Spector that will be presented on this website
in the near future.
Clear Channel has decided that �Less is More�
will not bring in the revenue needed to pay the $400
million they have promised Rush Limbaugh. They�ll be
adding some additional commercials to Rush�s show
with a �More is More� theme extended to other time
periods as well.
The number one subject on Talk Radio is the spiraling
price of gasoline now passed the $4.00 a gallon mark in
the states. Double that price if you are in England,
France, Norway and Belgium or escape the escalating
cost of gas by traveling to Venezuela where its
12 cents a gallon.
Direct mail providers are lobbying in several states
against the move to create �Do Not Mail� programs
similar to the one that limits telephone marketers.
Proponents estimate almost 6 million tons of direct
mailings annually cost tax payers millions to dispose
of and require 100 million trees to be cut. Radio
could benefit from an increase in advertising
if direct mail is limited.
Left Behind ?
I find it interesting how the print media, suffering
major losses in circulation and advertising revenue
and long known to ignore radio, has not only begun to
rely on radio programmers for guidance but are also
forming alliances they hope will cushion their demise.
With the exception of the expert coverage of Chicago
area broadcasting by Robert Feder at the Sun Times,
very few newspapers deem local radio and television
important enough to be reported. But with the drop
in circulation in my own area the editors of the
Spokane Spokesman-Review have now awakened
to proudly gush about being a participant in the
programming of one of the town�s news/talk facilities.
Robert Feder Randy Michaels Lee Abrams
Now-a-days with newspaper circulation in a deadfall,
columnist and editors at the Tribune Corporation
have suddenly found themselves taking direction from
radio programming wizards Randy Michaels
and Lee Abrams.
The immediacy advantage of the electronic media has
now moved to the Internet. With WiFi challenging
terrestrial and satellite radio, video on the web via
U-Tube and others are doing the same to television.
In a society of non-readers the newspaper is fast
becoming the dinosaur of media.
In the years before broadband and certainly since,
the importance of the internet was predicted by many
but few more of a visionary than radio�s Bob Hamilton.
In our conversations of more than a dozen years ago,
he forecast exactly what we are experiencing today.
Bob Hamilton Rollye James Jerry Del Colliano
Bob, along with radio talk show host Rollye James and
Jerry Del Colliano often jump start my brain. Each
excel in various area�s that converge to remove the
blinders that clog ones mind. Broadcast and the print
media both would have benefited early on by
inviting their input.
The past provides many lessons for the future.
Those who combine it with the technology of today
and tomorrow will be successful. Those who don�t
will be left behind.
Chrysler introduces WiFi Radio
The Future is NOW
Starting this fall, Chrysler will offer wireless WiFi
in all 09 models. Called UConnect, it brings the
internet to consumers along with thousands of
radio stations worldwide, e-mail, games and even
the ability to upload pictures.
For local AM & FM radio stations, who have long
claimed a captured audience of consumers in cars,
they will now have more than just satellite radio as
competitors. As we have been saying for some time ,
WiFi radio is the future.
Those terrestrial radio receivers, HD radio,
satellite radio and tower sites will soon be obsolete
with the information superhighway now available
everywhere, at home and away.
The first such technology from any automaker,
Chrysler's UConnect includes 32-number phone
book feature and voice-dialing. Its also available
as a dealer-installed retrofit for models back to 1994.
Thirty million Americans now listen to
radio off the Internet each week, most via their
computer speakers, but that�s about to change
drastically now that WiFi receivers allow
users access without even having your PC on.
The return of Top 40 WLS
In resurrecting the WLS call letters for Citadel�s
WZZN-fm we can only hope the programming will take
advantage of the history that goes with the name.
Beginning in the 1960�s WLS captured a huge audience,
often with more listeners than all other Chicago
Programming what was �popular,� not limiting the
music to just rock, WLS introduced a vast variety of music
that ranged from the melodic #1 instrumentals
of Percy Faith, Bert Kaempfert, Aker Bilk and Paul
Mauriat with a foreign language chart topper by Japan�s
Kyu Sakamoto, novelty hits from the Hollywood Argyles
and Bobby �Boris� Pickett. Rockers Elvis Presley,
Chubby Checker, Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and
the Beatles all came from the 60�s, an era largely ignored
by programmers today who foolishly limit the music and
hide the term �oldies� from their branding. Encouraged
by advertising agency's, "oldies" is being replaced
in favor of "classic hits." Now I ask, when was the last
time you heard a listener describe an "oldies" format
as "classic hits?"
Reaching the prized 25-54 demo plus a giant slice of
baby boomers can deliver a big cume that turns into
success for WLS-fm and it can be done by sparingly
spotlighting some hits of the early 60�s that WLS-am
first introduced to millions. Limiting the music only
limits the number of listeners. Let's hope WLS-fm is
truly a great "oldies" station that takes advantage of the
vast musical library Chicagoans grew up hearing.
WLS-fm would be wise to offer the �wow� factor, a
pleasant surprise in its presentation of �oldies.�
General Manager Mike Fowler declares, �we�re going to
develop this into the top 40 WLS of old.� Today that
station is remembered for being a leader in both its role
in breaking the hits and offering unique on-air
personalities. Theirs a lot for WLS-fm to learn from
its big sister WLS-am.
We wish them well and look forward to WLS-fm
recapturing the spirit and the ratings of its namesake.
Lujack & Friends
John Cravens, John Gehron, Jeff Trumper,
Larry Lujack, John Rook & Don Bouloukos
Uncle Lar returned with Tommy Edwards,
John Records Landecker and others to star in the
WLS Memorial Day �Rewind�.
A reminder of why we all love him, see
Janet Davies of WLS-TV interview Larry here
Hall of Fame inductee Lujack has made it quite clear to
me during our conversations that he isn�t ready to hang
up the earphones and as Chicago Sun Times columnist
Robert Feder reports here, retirement isn�t setting
well for Superjock.
My suggestion - Lujack's star would shine
brightly with the WGN line up.
WOGL in Philadelphia honors Big Ron O�Brien by
naming the main studio at the station in his name.
The top rated CBS owned facility also provides a
tribute to Big Ron here.
WiFi � Radio�s Future
�Is it anywhere near Des Moines?� was the question
asked 25 years ago as I announced my intention to move
from the madness of major market life to a more serene
existence in rural Idaho. It didn�t really surprise me
that most had no idea where Idaho was and confused
it with Iowa.
Though I had grown up in small town Nebraska, it
would be a cultural shock to me in many ways. While
I appreciated the �escape� from what I projected would
be the Los Angeles of today, I also missed some of what
I had left behind. In time thousands of Californians
would follow my path, mindful of what had driven
them away from what was once thought to be a life in
paradise, they too came seeking a better life for
themselves and their families. In more recent years
retail stores and services not here when I arrived now
provide virtually everything I once missed. Some
friends came to visit only to return and now call Idaho
�home.� Two decades later the only thing missing for me
is my love of the Pacific ocean and the unpolluted
beaches that once were.
The marvel of modern day technology, satellite delivered
TV and the internet now allows me to live in my own
little sliver of paradise and still be in contact with the
cities I once called home and the dozens of locations I
had visited in my many years as a radio consultant
and in my travels nationally. Instantly I can watch
local television from distant cities or listen to radio
that was until recently thought to be unavailable.
No longer am I saddled with fewer than a dozen �local�
radio stations, that in reality are no longer �local� but
distributors of nationally syndicated programming.
WiFi, with its delivery of thousands of radio stations
and hundreds of internet offerings, has really
greatly expanded my radio menu.
Given the limited number of �local� stations available
to me, I had mistakenly considered radio hardly worth
turning on. Not true with my discovery of WiFi.
I keep tellin' ya...the future for radio is WiFi.
Larry Lujack, John Rook
Larry's acceptance speech is here
Thanks to the New Radio Star
Several dozen long time pals greeted me at the
Las Vegas affair�
John Rook, Erica Farber
As CEO and Publisher of Radio & Records, Erica is
one of the industry's most influential leaders and
also serves on the nominating committee of the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
Bob "Doc" Fuller, John Rook, John Gehron
Two long time friends of more than 30 years. Honored
during the NAB convention with a 2008 Pioneer Award
presented by the Broadcasters Foundation,
Bob is more of what radio needs today.
John Gehron followed me as program director at WLS
and with a exemplary career is now General Manager
of Harpo Radio, Inc., Oprah Winfrey�s radio interests.
He also serves on the nominating committee of the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
John Rook, Tommy Edwards
Larry's long time side kick Tommy produced
the tribute introducing Super Jock Lujack at the
NAB Hall of Fame luncheon.
John Rook, Don Bouloukos
Another long time friend of our days at ABC radio,
Don has a long successful track record of top
management in the radio industry.
John Rook, Bob Hamilton
A friend of forty years, Bob interviews my right hand,
Jason Rook about the Hit Parade Hall of Fame
on the New Radio Star website.
Lujack Inducted at NAB Radio
Hall of Fame
With a standing ovation before and after, it was Lujack,
no teleprompter, no script, his usual off the cuff
comments keeping a full house in stitches with an
original, natural down home spin reminiscent of the
charm of a modern day Will Rogers.
Using content most would overlook, Ol Lar�s sarcastic
comedic routine poked fun at the NAB, at those who
benefited from his genius over the years and most of all
himself as he blended his experiences covering a fifty
year career into a monolog that brought hilarious
flashbacks to those of us who were fortunate enough
to have had him on our team.
John Gehron, Larry Lujack, John Rook
Not at all comfortable in his acceptance of them,
Larry Lujack has now added the NAB Hall of Fame
tribute to those from the Illinois Broadcasters in 2002
and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004.
Meeting for the first time forty years ago, it would be
a friendship that would continue to this day.
In 1967 Larry and I were both new to Chicago. Starting
our radio careers ten years earlier in small Idaho and
Wyoming communities, we both had about the same
number of stops learning our craft before arriving
in Chicago, he as talent and me as the program
director of WLS.
It was perhaps the most fun either of us would have in
radio as the station leaped to the top of the ratings with
Lawrence of Chicago, the station�s quarterback in
afternoon drive on the Big 89.
A few years later he would accept my invitation to join
me at WCFL, where SuperJock and SuperCFL merged
to add more stripes to his sleeve.
Hailed as one of Chicago's most renowned radio
personalities, Larry has been inducted into both the
Illinois Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame in
2002 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2004.
It will be with great pride that I join him in Las Vegas
on April 15th as he is inducted into the NAB radio
Hall of Fame.
Larry sez, �Gheez, had I known it was this big of a
deal I would have put a little more effort into my show�.
Chicago Radio Legend dies
A native buckeye, he arrived in Chicago and WGN in
1956 where he ruled morning drive in the windy city
for almost two decades. Wally Phillips was the
undisputed king of morning radio often with more
listeners than all other Chicago stations combined.
Using the telephone and comedic genius Wally Phillips
interacted with listeners and was considered a
member of the family by most Chicagoans.
In 1997 Wally Phillips was inducted into the
National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
At 82 years of age, having battled Alzheimer�s disease
for several years, on Thursday, March 27th,
Wally Phillips died at his home in Naples, Florida.
The WGN Wally archives are here
Porky Leaves Pittsburgh
Once plagued with the soot and smoke of the worlds steel
industry, Pittsburgh was also headquarters for more of
the world�s top 100 companies than any other city in
the nation. In recent years where the Allegheny and
Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River the
city has achieved the honor of being named
�America�s most livable city.�
Fifty years ago, it was also where many recording stars
were discovered and sent on the road to worldwide
acclaim by Pittsburgh radio. As program director of
KQV in those days, (more here) it was not uncommon
for the daily visits of celebrities eager to thank the
�Groovy QV� disc jockeys and other local radio
personalities for their part in opening the
curtain of success.
Porky Chedwick - Chuck Brinkman - Clark Race
Among the cities top disc jockeys were Porky Chedwick,
Chuck Brinkman and Clark Race. They alone were
responsible for introducing stardom for more recording
stars than anyone. Our friend Clark Race is no longer
among us. Chuck continues on the air in Dallas, Texas
and Porky, certainly the river city�s best known
platter pusher has at 90 years of age now left
for retirement in Florida.
Pittsburghers will miss Porky in person, but even
though he and wife Jeanie will be soaking up the sun
don't be surprised due to the marvel of today's
technology if "The Daddio of the Raddio" isn't heard
from time to time on the Pittsburgh airwaves.
= = = = =
Fair Fairness Doctrine ?
As a broadcast owner two dozen years ago I was
nominated by President Reagan�s close friend, Senator
Paul Laxalt of Nevada to be an FCC commissioner. In the
process hundreds of radio managers and owners wrote
the administration supporting me resulting in my being
interviewed by White House chief of staff Howard Baker
and by Senators Jessie Helms and Ted Kennedy.
As the Governor of California I had met Ronald Reagan
earlier when I leased the home of Ed & Jean Reinecke,
the Lt. Governor and his wife. I greatly admired Reagan
and would have probably supported him in most areas
except for his desire to end the Fairness Doctrine.
While Reagan was blocked from filling any FCC
commission opening in retaliation for his support of
Ollie North�s Central America battle with the
Sandinistas, the Fairness Doctrine had seemed
�fair� to me and upon saying so during my interviews
in the nations capitol, it was clear that view wasn�t
what the White House wanted from a prospective
I remember flying home to my Idaho paradise with a
sigh of relief. I would never have been comfortable
in Washington D.C.
Finally the broadcast lobby in their drive to
deregulate the industry did get the Fairness
Doctrine removed setting the way for radio to
police themselves with fewer voices and a handful
of owners guided less by a need to serve the public
and more by their desire to make money.
"Free enterprise" sounds great, but I have first
hand experience of being driven out of the radio
ownership by those who without enforced guidelines
will overreach gobbling up everything they can.
Imagine if you will no laws on the roadways with
everyone allowed to drive as they see fit.
Now the pendulum is swinging with the Fairness Doctrine
once again being considered. I�ve discussed it time and
time again with several of my talk show host friends, who
have a differing view. Frankly many of them have been
giving "equal time" very successfully. It will certainly
continue to be a subject of interest as we near what
could be a totally democrat dominated congress.
Al was first discovered by our old friend Johnny Rivers
in the late 60�s. Johnny�s fans are giving him a big
boost as a 2007 nominee of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
He credits our days at KQV in the 60�s for breaking his
giant hit �Memphis� and ushering in a very successful
career of numerous top ten hits. Vote for him now.
2007 inductee Connie Francis telephoned as did 2008
Hit Parade Hall of Fame nominee�s Andy Kim and
Freddy �Boom Boom� Cannon.
Rocker Freddy with "Tallahassee Lassie", "Way Down
Yonder In New Orleans" & "Palisades Park" had more
than two dozen rides on the Hit Parade and
Canadian Andy Kim created the monster hit
�Sugar, Sugar� along with chart toppers
�Baby, I Love You� and �Rock Me Gently.�
One of the great song writers of all time,
Andy shares some of his latest creations
with me....WOW ! Great material, now
if only he and others like him could find
exposure on radio these days.
Fans voting at the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in
2008 have thus far exceeded last year's tally at this
stage in the voting. 66,000 voted to induct 28
hit makers from the 1950 through 1980 era.
Jerry Del Colliano
In recent days many have mentioned their appreciation
of our linking them to Inside Music Media.
Jerry Del Colliano is a media visionary who was raised
in the trenches of Philadelphia radio before venturing
into the publishing arena in the mid 70�s with his
Inside Radio that would become must reading for radio
management, not only for the latest news but for his
commentary on the industry.
In the 90�s, warning of radio�s rush into deregulation,
he was labeled a maverick by those who would benefit
from his demise. In a David vs. Goliath litigation battle
his nemesis bought Inside Radio with a pledge for
Jerry to remain silent for a few years while they
continued with plans to gobble up the industry.
The high cost of my own antitrust litigation pitting me
against the combination of two Goliath�s had a different
ending but did encourage me to speak out against
deregulation that spawned a monopolization of both
radio and the music industries. For several years most
were blinded by their desire to overreach, merging was
good, until finally in recent times even the biggest of
the big began to accept less is more.
No longer bound by an order to remain silent, I was
delighted when my old friend Jerry returned with an
undaunted vision for both the radio and the music
industry. I know from first hand experience his daily
commentary isn�t for financial gain, but rather is a
thought provoking probe, a dose of the truth, while
not always appreciated by some, certainly respected
by most judging from those I hear from.
To have introduced him to some is our distinct pleasure.
We regularly offer a link to Jerry�s Inside Music Media
because he deserves your attention
Preparing for the Future
As our government ignored the plight of vast portions of
our nation�s population by insisting any downturn in the
economy was merely a �blip� and blamed the media for
fanning the flames of a recession, the voices of those
hurting most was being heard on talk radio.
With a torrent of warning signs flooding down, it was not
until the credit dam broke that government suddenly
recognized there was a crisis and began to take
�emergency� actions to plug what they term �a leak,�
but in reality is not unlike the destruction Katrina
unleashed on New Orleans.
As the readily availability of talk radio gave a megaphone
to those displaced by plant closings, of families forced
from their homes and unable to afford the rapidly
escalation of food prices, of truckers who no longer can
afford the high cost of fuel to transport food, including
the merchandise for retail consumption, our government
finally began to react to a crisis that due to lack of early
action can only get worse.
I often find disappointment in the lack of historical
awareness of today�s talk show hosts. Most aren�t old
enough to have actually experienced the stressful,
difficult condition�s that existed during the 1930's
and 40's and are ill equipped to tell the story of
what Americans of that generations experienced.
Given the need to tell the story, talk radio could
benefit from guests who actually lived it.
In a society that has shown a disregard for reading,
of expecting an instantaneous response to most
everything, talk radio hosts can best make an
unsuspecting public aware of what the
future will bring by telling them of the past.
Knowing the past is the best preparation for the future.
Mark Lowry Mel
With despair etched deep in the faces of Mark and
Lowry Mays, a totally different expression of elation
and confidence beams from the face of Mel Karmazin.
Plagued by hurdles and delays in their attempt to
unload a faltering Clear Channel, banker turned
broadcaster Lowry Mays and his son are faced with the
media company's sale on the brink of collapse as the
private equity firms leading the $19.5 billion buyout
were having difficulty reaching terms with the banks
committed to financing the deal.
As anguish surrounded the Clear Channel compound
in Texas, it was the opposite for the charismatic pied
piper of the Sirus-XM satellite merger. Battling those
who once kissed his ring, the NAB and terrestrial
broadcast owners, Mel Karmazin�s plans for a merger
received Department of Justice approval and now
seems almost assured in the weeks ahead.
Only a few said the charismatic Karmazin would be
successful when the proposed merger of Sirus and
XM was first announced in early 2007. At the same
time the collapse of Clear Channel was predicted due
to their domineering arrogance and lack of leadership.
It�s the difference between being a banker
. . . . or a salesman.
6 Banks Are Sued in Clear Channel Deal here
�Your Leeeeeeeee�der� dies
His top 40 radio career is truly legendary.
Radio listeners in dozens of cities, from Toronto to
Miami, Boston to Los Angeles and many cities in
between were fans of Jack Armstrong, one of the most
energetic, exciting air personalities ever.
Having appreciated his talent from the start of his
career, I hired him for afternoons at KFI in the early 80�s.
In the years since we talked often, as recently as a month
ago. He was despondent over the state of his career.
Always eager to be on the air, radio no longer had an
opening for his high energy top forty performance.
Jack Armstrong died on Saturday at 62 years of age,
the day before Easter at his High Point,
North Carolina home.
Rollye James has a more complete report on our
friend Jack Armstrong here.
From the John Rook collection at ReelRadio.com
listen to Jack Armstrong on KFI from
Feb. 1980 here
Jack's secret of success, "it wasn't work."
Watch him at WIXY-Cleveland in 1988 here
�The Wages of Spin�
Friends and industry insiders advise of an up coming
television documentary being planned about the
recording industry of the late 50�s and 60�s in
the final stages of production at PBS.
When aired it is expected to concentrate on the red
hot city of Philadelphia during a time when Dick Clark�s
American Bandstand broadcasting live each weekday
exercised great power over the careers of many recording
artists in that era.
Said to be a no holds barred look at how the system
worked -- the rules of the game -- how careers were
created or shattered, depending on one's willingness
to play, this expose will air what has long been talked
about in private by industry insiders but unreported
to the public at large.
�Cha Cha Cha Changes�
His media contributions are well known and legendary,
preparing him for perhaps the most important task he
has ever faced, that of reversing what he terms the
�junk culture� our society has been increasingly
spoon fed by the media for many years.
Intrigued as a teenager, Lee was bitten by the Chicago
radio bug in the 60�s. A few years later, I just missed
hiring him as program director of Miami�s Y-100.
The job had already been given to a young programmer
from Mississippi, Bill Tanner, who became the architect
of that stations success. Lee & his partner Kent Burkhart,
offered stiff competition to my John Rook & Associates
consultancy in the 70�s.
As a broadcast owner in the 80�s, I proudly presented
Lee�s Z-Rock format and in the 90's I applauded his
introduction of XM Satellite radio.
To me, recorded music was at its zenith in the 1970�s.
Growing bored with it ten years later, I eagerly accepted
the responsibility of programming the nations top talk
facility, KABC. Talk radio was bland, "not playing the
hits," it was in need of excitement and change.
I felt certain my vision of a fast paced news/talk format,
geared to programming the �hits� of the hour would
revolutionize the format. With some colorful creativity,
a willingness to experiment and change, radio�s
instantaneous delivery provided a great advantage
over all other media. I could hear it in my head but
for the very first time in my programming career
I was unable to bring my dream about.
Perhaps it was my youthful persistence that allowed me
to successfully bring change in the 60�s and 70�s to other
�established� stations such as KQV, WLS and KFI. But
at KABC in the 1980�s and me into my fifties, my patience
waned and I no longer had the desire to fight the fight
what would bring about change. Movement was so slow
I simply grew tired of long meetings where in my
estimation, little was accomplished. Previously in my
career, a program director was seldom challenged.
Sales was totally separate and had little if any input
into programming. Listening to and directing the
programming was a 24/7 responsibility, with time
spent behind the desk or in meetings minimal.
That era was coming to a close as Wall Street
and sales management began to put the cart
in front of the horse.
Despite being asked to reconsider my decision, I
resigned and returned to my little sliver of paradise in
Idaho. The programming fire in my belly would continue
as a consultant to talk radio, but the stamina to argue
over and over with those unreceptive in this new era of
sales management control of programming diminished
my previous enthusiasm
My younger friend Larry Lujack has invited me to join
him in Las Vegas as he will be inducted into the NAB
Hall of Fame next month. I recently ask him if he had
any misgivings of his semi retirement from radio.
�I still have one more chapter left in me,� he said.
And so I would suspect it is for Lee Abrams who will
now return to his home town of Chicago to an exciting
challenge at the Tribune Corporation. It will be a
multifaceted adventure that will require great expertise.
Now in his mid-fifties, Lee has his work cut out for him.
He will be faced with a wall of resistance. Change will not
come easy for those set in their beliefs and ways.
Rising from the programming ranks himself, Tribune
CEO Randy Michaels has picked the right man,
Lee Abrams, to help him bring much needed
�Cha Cha Cha Changes� to the Tribune Corporation.
I wish them success.
Aretha, Queen of Soul
Aretha Franklin�s 1927 Detroit home is in foreclosure
for non payment of $445 in 2005 taxes with $18,746 in
back taxes and fees dating back to 2006 also due.
Valued at more than $700,000, the mansion abuts
the north course of the Detroit Golf Club
on Hamilton Road.
Shown leaving court, a haggard Paul McCartney, after
not quite four years of marriage, will be paying Heather
Mills almost $50 million in a divorce settlement.
She was demanding more than double that amount but
after a court review of Sir Paul's assets showed his net
worth was considerably below a rumored one billion
dollar fortune, the lesser amount was awarded.
Larry Craig Eliot Spitzer
What Goes Around�
The same wire tapping he used to bring down others has
been used to bring down the Governor of New York, who
is expected to end a political career much like that
of Idaho�s Senator Larry Craig.
No sooner has the Craig fiasco begin to peter out when
talk radio once again has been given days if not weeks
of fodder by New York Governor Eliott Spitzer and
perhaps other politician�s who are about to be named
in a federal indictment.
We all remember Larry, whose wide stance finally
outed him after years of speculation that he was just a
little too righteous in his view of alternative lifestyles.
Now we have �Mr. Morality,� the cocky former Attorney
General of New York, Eliott Spitzer, who rode the
prosecution of prostitutes and other law breakers into
the governor�s mansion, accused of soliciting the
services of a high priced prostitute while conducting
business in the nation�s capitol.
Unlike Senator Craig, who continues to embarrass
Idahoans by his insistence on staying in office until his
term ends, Governor Spitzer has resigned immediately
to lessen the residents of New York the memory of
another politician caught in the web of hypocrisy.
Jack Swanson Melanie Morgan Mickey Luckoff
KSFO morning co-host Melanie Morgan is out
in the belt tightening ordered by Citadel CEO
Farid Suleman. She is wife of the nation�s most
successful radio programmer, Jack Swanson of
San Francisco�s KGO, a KSFO sister station.
Faced with having to make the cuts ordered by
commander Suleman, the very popular Melanie
was tossed overboard the sinking USS Citadel .
Word has it Melanie's husband, a top member
of the Bay City Citadel/ABC management team
learned of his wife's termination at the company
from her, after she had been shown the door.
Jack is a real pro with the longest running streak of
#1 rating�s in radio history at KGO, but one must
wonder just how long he and super manager
Mickey Lukoff will stay at the Citadel/ABC helm
in San Francisco.
If and when they grow tired of being micro managed
by Suleman, who has no real experience other than
that of a bean counter, no one could blame them for
jumping ship at KGO, the last remained gem in the
once proud ABC group of stations. ABC managers
are protected by a clause in the Disney/Citadel
sale agreement that would make it very unlikely
they would leave on their own accord at this time,
the severance could be too expensive for Citadel,
Can removing Melanie from mornings at KSFO
signal Farid Suleman's intention to give that slot
to Don Imus ?
Citadel Blood Bath
USS Citadel Sinking
As the stock of Citadel continues to slide, slide, slide
to the basement, the long anticipated �blood bath� is
about to begin as company CEO Farid Suleman goes
public blaming his nightmare primarily on the radio
management Citadel inherited in taking over the
ABC/Disney radio stations in San Francisco;
Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Atlanta; New York;
Dallas and Los Angeles.
Suleman warns, �The time for talk is over and it is now
time for the walk� as he calls for �management changes,
format changes & programming changes� at the stations.
Up until Wall Street companies took control of radio,
it survived economic downturns while other media
supported by advertising dollars floundered.
Radio was the cost effective way to reach
consumers until radio people were flushed out of
the business by deregulation and the desire to
monopolize dramatically increased advertising rates
that radio's new owners thought would service the
debt on over valued radio facilities.
Arrogant incompetent management focusing on
revenue instead of product did much to bring
about the collapse of radio.
If Farid Suleman has any expertise, it's in the
financial arena. He had every opportunity to
examine the books and project the future
in his pursuit to add the ABC facilities to his
Citadel group of medium market stations.
That was his responsibility , he over reached
and the ABC managers Citadel will need
now more than ever, must pay the price
for his blunder.
The USS Citadel is sinking about as fast as its
stock, down a whopping 87% in just the past year.
Following the blood bath, can a fire sale of the
company�s assets be next ?
Clear Channel WiFi-less
Once again the corporate clowns at Clear Channel have
decided to throw their weight around by removing all
of the group�s radio stations from WiFi receivers.
The same kind of dollars & cents logic that has helped
bring Clear Channel to its knee�s, we can only hope when
and if the equity partners take over they will make
changes in the top management of Clear Channel radio.
Meanwhile virtually all of the other groups and
thousands of stations continue to be heard
on WiFi around the world.
The Web is it
The move to the internet continues with the latest
research indicating nearly half of all Americans now
say their primary source of news and information is
the web. That�s a 10% increase in just the past year as
less than a third use television, 11% count on radio
and 10% still rely on newspapers. A whopping 64% are
dissatisfied with the amount of news coverage offered
by local sources.
Setting the Record Straight
Until recent years the name of the trade publication
�Radio & Records� was an example of just how the two
industries coexisted as one in creating new recording
artists with both radio and records benefiting from each
other in offering an excitement that was a magnet for
radio listeners and music fans.
In creating the Hit Parade Hall of Fame many long
time friends in both radio and the record business have
continued an association we have enjoyed for decades.
The organization is blessed with a wealth of knowledge
from a sensational Nominating Committee.
I also personally hear regularly from executives,
on-air performers and recording stars whose talent
contributed greatly to my success in radio
over fifty years.
Our communication with each other is much like it
always has been, enjoyable as we often laugh of past
memories when the radio and the recording industries
flourished and discuss the current state of affairs of the
two industries that these days seem so distant in their
appreciation of each other.
It�s not unusual for someone to make me aware of an
error either in the print or broadcast media pertaining
to the great stars of the recording industry. Thus, we
will endeavor to correct these mistakes as they are
brought to the attention of this website.
Clicking on the various links can be a rewarding
experience in providing a past memory for some and
hopefully a learning experience for others.
Walter Brennan Elvis Presley
Hit Parade Hall of Fame inductee Pat Boone�s father
in-law, Red Foley , wrote and first hit with his
recording of �Old Shep� in the late 1940�s.
Recently the �American Profile� Sunday magazine
supplement gave credit to Walter Brennan for
recording of this song instead of Red Foley or even
2007 Hit Parade Hall of Fame inductee Elvis Presley�s
1956 recording of �Old Shep.�
Walter Brennan didn't have a hit single of
�Old Shep� but he did have a top five hit
with �Old Rivers� in 1962.
Patsy Cline Connie Francis
Attn: Randy Jackson of American Idol:
�Where the Boys Are� was not a �country hit by
Patsy Cline,� a 2007 nominee of the Hit Parade Hall
of Fame,� but a chart topping pop hit in 1961 by the
nations number one female singer, Connie Francis
who was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame
Chuck Berry Fats Domino
Attn: Phil Keating of Fox News:
�Blue Berry Hill� was not �a hit by Chuck Berry,�
a 2007 nominee to the Hit Parade Hall of Fame, instead
it was a #1 pop hit for Fats Domino in 1956 who was
inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.
While Fat�s Domino�s version of the song is best known
today, it was first introduced by Gene Autry in the 1940
western movie �The Singing Hills� and was a chart
topper by Glenn Miller and Russ Morgan in that year.
Lorne Greene Jimmy Dean
Attn: Bill O�Reilly of Fox News
�Big Bad John� was not �a hit by Bonanza�s
Lorne Greene,� but was a #1 pop hit in 1961 for
Jimmy Dean who is a 2008 nominee at the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
Not to be confused with the chart topping
"Big Bad John," Lorne Greene did have a
#1 hit, "Ringo" in 1964.
It brings back memories of my youth when many a
night was spent glued to my grandpa�s floor model
Zenith radio listening to WSM�s Grand Ole Opry,
still locally on the air all these years later in Nashville,
nationally on XM satellite and world wide via
subscription free WiFi radio.
At a time when most anything older than twenty years
is considered obsolete by radio programmers, WSM
reaches deep into a vault of treasured music and
performances for its programming on a daily basis.
The clock is turned back as great stars, with their
distinguished voices largely forgotten by radio today,
are exclusively broadcast on WSM.
It�s entertaining for millions who lived during the
eighty year history of the station and educational
for generations in the future.
Starting out as the WSM Barn Dance the station
played a major role in bringing joy to Americans at a
time when dollars for entertainment was scarce for
families during the great depression, as did WLS in
Chicago with its National Barn Dance and the
Louisiana Hayride on KWKH in Shreveport.
In today's copy cat world of radio, AM stations
are relegated to talk programming, but not
in WSM's case, where the big hits of country music
history are proudly programmed successfully
against Nashville's other big AM station, WLAC
with a News/Talk format. WSM's ratings are ahead
of ten fm stations serving the Nashville market.
With a wealth of historic radio programming to draw
from in their archives and the rich musical heritage of
country music, WSM and the Grand Ole Opry
are not only "Nashville's Country Legend,"
they are a national treasure.
Illustrating the decline facing print publications,
the 103 year old Hollywood trade publication Variety
with annual revenue totaling an estimated $100
million has been put on the auction block by
Reed Publications who also owns Broadcasting
& Cable and Publishers Weekly.
Fans of the Carpenter�s are hoping to prevent
the demolition of the home on Newville Ave. in
Downey, California where Karen Carpenter lived
and died that was featured on the 1973 album
cover of �Now and Then�.
Now in her 60�s and coming out of a brief retirement,
Cher returns to Las Vegas to perform four shows a week
at the at Caesars Palace Coliseum for a month
beginning May 6th and again in October�for $60 million.
Hit Parade Hall of Fame nominee, Andy Williams,
will be the recipient of the 17th Annual ELLA Award by
the Society of Singers at the Beverly Hilton Hotel
on May 19, 2008. Glen Campbell, Petula Clark,
Steve Lawrence, Monica Mancini, Barry Manilow,
Johnny Mathis and the Gregg Field Orchestra will be
among the performers.
Previous recipients of the ELLA Award include
Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Lena Horne,
Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Placido
Domingo, Celine Dion and Elton John.
Named after Ella Fitzgerald, the ELLA Award is given
to singers whose significant musical accomplishments
are equaled by their dedication to charitable and
humanitarian causes both local and international.
= = = =
Worldwide fans of my friend Eddie Cochran will be
excited to know a motion picture of his life could be in
the works this year.
And speaking of the big screen, another long time pal
who brought �Hoffa� to the screen is producing another
blockbuster about the life of "Lucky" Luciano.
Bill Gavin's wisdom
It was a lesson radio learned back in the mid 60�s
when the so called British invasion landed in the states.
In just one year thirty hit Beatles singles joined at least
a dozen other UK acts flooding the airwaves in the
states as programmers aimed at teenagers
discovering transistor radios.
Seeking to cash in on the excitement, several American
acts did their best to copy the English tidal wave in
appearance and sound. Within a year the first wake
up call was noticed as radio ratings began to show a
decline in adult radio listeners.
Programming czar Bill Gavin reminded of the need
for variety as he suggested radio include Frank Sinatra,
Tony Bennett, James Brown, Louis Armstrong, the
Supremes, Bobby Vinton, the Temptations and other
distinctly American acts with those from England.
Gavin, a model for good manners and class, always
urged a variety in programming. It was essential for
success during radio�s golden years when the rock of
Elvis, the country of the Browns and the spiritual of
the Mormon Tabernacle Choir gave variety to radio
as each had big hit singles.
Now-a-days, political foes of conservative talk show
hosts demonstrated delight at radio�s recent inability
to deliver votes for various candidates. Burnout
rendered dozens of Rush wannabe�s ineffective as
talkers buried listeners in liberal vs. conservative
banter, shouting down and belittling those with
Dialing around the nation via my WiFi radio it seemed
obvious to me, even though we are in an election year,
talk radio would benefit from some of Bill Gavin�s
wisdom with variety in the subject matter and a break
from the constant �in your face� harassment.
I�ve referred to him before, but talk show hosts could
learn from Charley Jones at KRLD in Dallas, a master
at being respectful to others and a gentleman who
covers a variety of subjects including politics. He�s a
ray of sunshine in the Texas Overnight.
Radio, eager to take credit for selling a clients product,
could do as much in selling good manners and in
offering a variety to the airwaves, would break the
monotony of political negativity.
Call it Bill Gavin's wisdom.
Finished - No, Diminished - Yes
Now that Jim Cramer�s syndicated program has been
cancelled, he sez radio is now dead - finished here.
Radio finished? No - though substantially diminished
by the desire to place sales ahead of product by operators
like Clear Channel�s founder Lowry Mays who early on
demonstrated his banker mentality by stating: We're not in the business of providing news and information. "We're not in the business of providing news and
information. We're not in the business of providing
well-researched music. We're simply in the business
of selling our customers products."
With Mays gobbling up hundreds of prime radio facilities
along with the nation�s largest radio syndicator,
Premiere Radio, at the expense of local programming
many operators bought into the cost saving sea of
sameness syndication delivers.
Syndicated programming isn�t something new. It was
common until independent operators fifty years ago
toppled the network titans with local personalities,
local news and gave full attention to their local
Today the stars of syndication are many. Certainly they
entertain and provide a wealth of experience and
information not necessarily available locally. The smart
operator though adds local programming and news,
especially in the medium and small markets where
listeners are largely underserved since deregulation.
Radio's future is in your hands, invest in it now.
Memo to Mel Karmazin
In your Charlie Rose interview you state
"AM radio started in 1928 in Pittsburgh at KDKA"
Here's a tip from someone who believes it's
important history isn't rewritten with the wrong
information. Coming from Mel Karmazin, the former
head honcho of CBS radio, you may want to make note,
KDKA began broadcasting in 1920 and a year
earlier, AM station 8ZAE, later known as KQV
was on the air in the Steel City in 1919.
Me to George, me too !
Now that the radio industry has taken major steps at
pruning overhead, certainly more employees can be
expected to join the unemployment ranks as Citadel
and others also are expected to look for a quick way to
improve a sour bottom line
Even more expense could be shaved by dismissing those
charged with preparing the cluttered top management
statements that announced the cuts by combining the
exact excuses given by Clear Channel, Emmis and CBS
in much fewer words along these lines:
�We are operating in a different environment and thus
need an adjustment as an expense reduction effort to
better position the company, deploying our assets to
best grow our ratings and monetize the results.�
Over the past several months I�ve heard from dozens
who have been terminated, some with stories of how
severance dollars were far less than they had been
led to believe they would receive.
It�s a sad time for an industry I proudly enjoyed being a
part of for five decades. As one Los Angeles manager
with a lifetime of radio behind him said,
�I�m just glad I�m not in it anymore.�
Me to George, me too !
Randall, Mark & Lowry
To: All Clear Channel Radio Managers
Effective immediately pull all on-air promotional
announcements recruiting additional personnel.
Clear Channel no longer offers an exciting career for
employees with a selection of competitive benefits,
a full medical plan and advancement in the
exciting radio industry.
In addition cut all research monies, advertising and
promotional monies, new hires not already implemented.
Do not replace any departing employees and travel, meals
and entertainment expenses are no longer authorized.
Head honcho John Hogan advises, �It will make your job
more difficult and have some long-term affect on your
overall performance. It goes without saying that leading
through these reductions will be challenging.�
The struggle to unload a desperate Clear Channel to a
private equity group without a reduced price per share,
or before the deal falls apart totally, has the Mays family
in a sweat to cut expenses & improve the bottom line,
but no word on discontinuing the use of their
private corporate jet.
Given the recent decline in business failures, some
company big wigs have cut their own wages to a
dollar a year. But not the Clear Channel brass,
they continue feeding at the trough after having
destroyed more than just a company that was given
all of the advantages to succeed.
Meanwhile as news of the cuts reached Wall Street,
stock took a major tumble, the exact opposite of what
Clear Channel had hoped for.
Also in the doldrums is Citadel, with chief financial
officer Robert Freedline after less than two years on the
job jumping ship �to pursue other career opportunities."
Deal or No Deal
If the $19.5 billion sale of Clear Channel goes forward
the Department of Justice has ordered the divesture of
radio stations in four markets because the buyers already
have substantial ownership interests in two firms that
compete with Clear Channel in those cities.
The Clear Channel stations in question are K101-fm,
KISQ-fm, KKGN-fm, KKSF-fm, KMEL-fm, KNEW-am
and KYLD-fm in San Francisco. WCKY-am, WEBN-fm,
WFFS-fm, WKRC-am, WLW-am, WNNF-fm, WOFX-fm
and WSAI-am in Cincinnati and KBME-am, KHMX-fm,
KKRW-fm, KLOL-fm, KODA-fm, KPRC-am, KTBZ-fm,
KTRM-am in Houston. Also in Las Vegas KPLV-fm,
KSNE-fm, KWID-fm and KWNR-fm.
Speculation has Clear Channel more than willing
to sell off Spanish language stations in Houston,
Las Vegas and San Francisco as a start at
satisfying the Department of Justice.
In announcing the decision, the DOJ said, �The
divestitures will ensure that advertisers will continue
to receive the benefits of competition.�
Read the DOJ ruling here
�Texas Overnight� with Charley Jones on KRLD is
such a refreshing change from the constant confrontation
of most talk show hosts. He's a great source for the
day�s top issues offered in a easy to take manner.
Most programmers pay attention to the large
growing number of listeners available via WiFi
and the web with excellent "fill" during scheduled
local commercial breaks, but some apparently
don't...unfortunately KABC offers the most
redundant, abrasive fill music (?) of all.
Their "3rd Shift" on LA's Free-fm KLSX, is one of
the better overnight shows on radio. Attracting a
younger demo than usually listens to talk radio,
their knowledge and historical reference of a
subject is sometimes limited but still entertaining.
My WiFi radio also lets me appreciate the local
programming on KOMO in Seattle ; Neal Boortz
with one of the best morning shows in the nation on
WSB - Atlanta. He's preceded with about the fastest
moving morning news anywhere. Jeff Katz, afternoons
at WBT in Charlotte skillfully and yet respectfully cuts
to the chaft when interviewing newsmakers and
Dr. Bill Wattenburg on San Francisco's KGO
is without any doubt one of the most knowledgeable
hosts on almost any issue or subject.
Shotgun Tom Neal Boortz
Music stations I visit often are KRTH - Los Angeles
with "Shotgun Tom" Kelly; KLUV in Dallas;
Real Oldies WVKZ in Schenectady-Albany, New York;
"Rewind" with our pal Jimmy Jay is a regular on
and from San Diego;
KABL in San Francisco is a pleasant memory and
filling a similar void also is "Martini in the Morning"
along with the long time favorite
With the exception of an occasional George Strait
hit, country music radio is seldom "country" enough
for me anymore but I do listen to KMPS - Seattle and
KSCS in Dallas/Ft. Worth from time to time.
"Country Legends" KKAT in Salt Lake City presents
a nice mix of country music "oldies."
During the recent holidays I was a guest on several
radio stations where along with radio's past and future,
the Hit Parade Hall of Fame was part of the
discussion. I really enjoyed WBT where starting the
New Year, host Boomer Von Cannon invited me to
guest on the Saturday night �Time Machine�
that recalls people and events from the 85 year
history of the legendary Charlotte station.
On this night tribute was being given to Sam Phillips,
the founder of Sun Records on his birthday.
Listen here .
Radio's Blood Returning ?
Media Services Group advises small to medium
market radio stations will sell at an unprecedented
volume this year, the most since the passage of the
1996 Telecom Act. Two of radio�s past tell us they have
funding in place to enter ownership again of several
stations in 2008.
A few weeks after release of �Long Road Out of Eden,�
sales of the Eagles are passing the 4 million mark.
With �How Long� still a favorite cut, �Busy Being
Fabulous� will be the follow up release
says manager Irving Azoff .
In the most recent voting for 2008 nominees at the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame, Tommy James & the
Shondells leads the pack with Olivia Newton-John
close behind. The Everly Brothers are ahead of
all 2007 nominees with Sonny & Cher in 2nd
place at this writing.
Vote here NOW.
= = = =
Ziegler's "Death March"
From #1 ratings to what he calls �a virtual death march�
that would lead to his departure from Clear Channel�s
Los Angeles crown jewel, John Ziegler�s KFI expose'
is a must read for all of talk radio.
Read "The Real KFI" here
= = = =
When a good product is created,
sales will follow.
With today�s radio management saturated by sales
executive�s intent with nursing the bottom line, we are
witnessing a continued slashing of programming
budgets. Regardless of the format, the bean counting
mentality continues ordering cuts of key on-air talent
for even top rated revenue producing facilities.
If music radio is to survive it has no alternative but to
give the consumer what is in short supply elsewhere,
local air talent and music excitement that was a
major part of radio�s past success. It�s obvious, but
the passing of time has erased any knowledge of
how easy and important it really is.
Meanwhile, local talk programming that focuses on
the top issues of the day be they local, national or
world-wide, could well turn out to be radio�s bright spot,
if it has one.
Unfortunately management today has replaced
programmers once responsible for motivating on-air
talent and creating exciting content, with those who
not only don�t consider commercials as programming,
they have been schooled to not recognize any
encroachment into their territory.
Yes, prior to bankers taking over the industry, top
management understood there was indeed a line
between sales and programming. Read the Bill Drake
profile below, he tells of radios growth era. "Everybody
else was choking the goose laying the golden egg,
jamming in as many commercials as they could. When
our slots were sold that was it."
As a player during those days I can assure you sales
had no input in programming, I personally never
attended sales meetings. Our job was to create
programming and the job of account executives was
to sell what we created.
Years ago KIMN Denver's owner Ken Palmer said,
"oil doesn't mix with water, that's true for sales and
programming also." His station, with five top 40
stations in one of the nations most competitive
radio markets, was far and away top rated during
his many years of ownership.
Their is no need for an adversarial relationship,
sales and programming have two very different
functions, both are important.
When a good product is created, sales will follow.
= = = =
Bill Drake is one of contemporary radio�s
true programming legends.
Many programming basics used today can
be credited to him.
R&R's Erica Farber "Profiles" Bill Drake here
= = = =
High on Wi-Fi�.but
Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi Radio
Just when I thought the enjoyment of listening to radio
was over one of my most knowledgeable friends,
Rollye James, introduced me to an exciting new
experience � Wi-Fi radio.
No longer am I limited to a few dozen am/fm stations
and/or satellite radio, instead I�ve discovered there
are thousands of radio stations available with no
subscription fee�s, no static, in CD quality. The
selection of programming is virtually limitless.
If your favorite radio program is no longer available
locally, listen to it on distant stations that do carry it.
Why wait to hear a syndicated program when you can
tune in to hear it ahead of time from another time zone.
Every era, every genre of recorded music can now be
heard along with Talk and News programming.
No software to load, no complex set-up, no antenna
needed, simply turn the Wi-Fi radio on to hear radio
stations locally, nationally and world-wide. As if that
were not enough, I now can listen to audio files from
my PC hard drive � and it�s all wireless.
Several choices of Wi-Fi radio�s are available both
table top and portable. My Acoustic Energy Wi-Fi
radio arrived less than a week after ordering it from
the C. Crain Company, with it was their
plug-in pillow speaker for bed time listening.
The choices offered by Wi-Fi provide more of a selection
to enjoy, but also reinforces radio�s need for
more programming expertise.
Often it�s not what you put on the air, but what you
keep off that makes for good radio. Relegated to a back
seat by the sales oriented management of recent years,
my Wi-Fi radio has made it abundantly clear�.
radio could learn much from its past.
I�m high on Wi-Fi, but there�s some pretty bad
radio out there folks.
= = = =
Their fans have decided the first inductees into the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame with more than 63,000
votes cast for more than one hundred recording
stars nominated by a panel of radio and music
Twenty-eight 2007 inductees were led by Elvis Presley,
followed by Paul Anka, the Beatles, Ray Charles
and Frank Sinatra.
18% of all votes to the Hit Parade Hall of Fame
came from outside the United States, with organized
fan clubs and artist websites playing a major role in
A total of eighty-two 2007 nominees continue to vie
for votes with sixty-two new 2008 nominees at the
Hit Parade Hall of Fame website.
See and hear the complete list of the 2007
= = = =
�A Damn Good Program Director�
Proud of being a programmer, many years ago radio
guru Chuck Blore chided a title given me as VP,
Operations Manager. �What�s wrong with just being a
damn good Program Director,� asked Chuck.
It hit home with me as I reversed the so called
"promotion" given me by top management and began
to change my letterheads and business cards to
identify me as �Program Director.�
Now-a-days, thanks to my WiFi radio, I search nationally
for radio stations fortunate enough to have �a damn
good program director,� one who not only accepts the
title as a badge of honor but truly �programs� the
Unfortunately, pushed by top management to cut
programming expense, radio offers a sea of syndication,
with very little actual programming done locally. In
truth, schedulers have replaced program directors.
Over the past two decades, motivating, encouraging and
giving direction to talented performers, much like a
motion picture director does, has become a rarity if not a
total absence in radio.
All importance is now placed on the bottom line.
Syndication has ended �local� radio for Wooster, Ohio -
Oxnard, California - Maxwell, Idaho � Mitchell, South
Dakota � Greensboro, North Carolina - Corona,
California, Yakima, Washington,- Palmdale, California
and McKeesport, Pennsylvania, where many like Robert
W. Morgan, Larry Lujack, Gary Owens, Rick Dees,
the Real Don Steele, Don Imus and Rush Limbaugh
got their start.
With very few exceptions, the top honcho�s of radio
today could just as well be managing a chain of shoe
stores. Their blood is not that of industry leaders in
radio�s golden era. A PD today is encouraged to reach
for a much higher position�that of Operations
Manager, a General Manager or even a V.P.
As for me, I�ll settle for �just being a damn good
program director.� Their's so few of us these days.
What the Sam Zell ?
Anyone who knows anything about Chicago radio
realizes WGN has been on top in the ratings since
before the Sears Tower or even the John Hancock
building came into being.
Enter a new billionaire owner, Sam Zell, who has given
the keys to the station to Randy Michaels, who has an
industry reputation of being a �genius� programmer,
but in reality has only one claim to fame in that area -
creating Tampa�s �Power Pig,� a den of indecent
programming prior to the FCC finally taking steps to
return some sanity to run-a-way smut on the airwaves.
Chicagoans may recall the short term time when
Michaels entered the city in 1991 to rename an fm
station �Hell.� Within days the residents of Chicago
sent dandy Randy packing, his offensive brand of
programming didn�t sit well with the folks in
Now, Sam Zell has shoved his favorite radio �genius�
into one of America�s great radio stations � WGN.
Maybe, just maybe, Randy Michaels will have matured
enough to understand the old adage �if it ain�t broke,
don�t fix it.� I doubt it.
Keep an eye on the #1 ratings of WGN, if they slide from
the top it will be due to the antics of Randy Michaels.
= = = = =
Archives Jan-Feb-Mar-Apr 2008
A Gold Star for Mason
Since taking over as president of CBS radio, I�d have to
agree with virtually every step Dan Mason has taken.
A true radio broadcaster, experienced in every area
including that sadly missing from the top management
of other radio groups - programming expertise.
A former disc jockey, major market program director,
Group Program Director, Vice President/General
Manager of radio stations, President of Westinghouse
Radio, President of Infinity Radio and now
President of CBS radio.
Upon his arrival, CBS radio was the sad joke of the
radio industry. Drawing from his years of experience,
Dan quietly set about changing the direction of the
group. He knew instinctively the steps to take.
Many years have passed since I last communicated
with Dan, a jock at Z-93 in Atlanta. But I�ve watched
his career unfold, marveled at his professionalism
and hoped for more like him in radio management.
With Dan Mason in charge, we predict CBS radio will
be the leader for all others to emulate in 2008.
Dan Mason deserves to be our 2007 Gold Star Award
winner for radio.
= = = =
It�s not difficult being unimpressed with the captain
of the USS Citadel Farid Suleman. His experience as
a bean counter doesn�t give him the expertise to
navigate in the waters of the radio industry.
As first officer to Admiral Karmazin, Farid dreamed
of the day he too could command his own fleet of
stations, until biting off far more than he could
chew with the purchase of ABC radio.
At the helm he found the seas rougher than he
had hoped, with stock shares now at an all time low,
Suleman has begun the destruction of a once great
group of stations.
Mirroring the Texas based Mays mess by desperately
grabbing dollars from any source, Captain Suleman
has ordered the once proud flagship, WABC in New
York, to program non-stop info commercials
beginning at midnight and continuing til� dawn.
It�s a precursor of what�s ahead for all of ABC radio.
In an attempt to keep the USS Citadel afloat, in the
New Year look for Suleman to begin selling off
stations and terminating programming personnel.
It�s the sinking of the USS Citadel.
= = = = =
Gloomy Christmas for Clear Channel
While the chiefs at Clear Channel hand out hundreds
of surprise pink slips to employees heading into the
holidays, they got some Christmas gloom of their
own from FMR, an affiliate of the mutual fund giant
Fidelity, who dumped three-fourths of its stake
in Clear Channel.
A dark cloud hangs over the announced sale of the
company to Bain Capital and Thomas H. LeePartners
as Clear Channel try�s desperately to sweeten the
books, asking for more time to satisfy the buyers.
Some may even find some humor in
"Christmas at Clear Channel" here
= = = = =
Islamists Target Michael Savage
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)
is trying to destroy the Savage Nation radio show
featuring Michael Savage.
We had better wake up fast !
Read more from Cliff Kincaid
at Accuracy in Media here
= = = = =
While most were wagering it would never be, we
predicted many, many months ago, if anyone could
pull off a merger between the two competing satellite
services, Mel Karmazin could.
He has a reason to be smiling this Christmas with
word leaking out the Department of Justice has
given their blessing to a Sirus � XM merger.
Still needed is approval from the Federal
Communications Commission, probably early
into the New Year.
While Mel sez a merger will benefit subscribers,
it�s expected some at XM will be joining the long
line of radio�s unemployed.
= = = = =
Joining the radio talk show circuit daily starting
in March, 2008, Lou Dobbs sez he is excited to add
his views to help enrich the national dialog leading
into the November elections. He has been one of
TV�s strongest voices on the invasion of our
nation by illegals.
Volvo has decided in the fall of 2008 to include
HD Radio�s as standard equipment. Let�s hope a major
move is undertaken to offer programming more than is
already available on AM/FM. Thus far there is a reason
for the less than successful start for HD radio�.one
must wonder if and when "content" will finally
become important again.
= = = = =
Please, tell me it�s not true.
Star and Buc Wild, the duo that even Clear Channel
found to be too repulsive, will be returning to the
New York airwaves for another round of smut
Star, whose real name is Troi Torian, was fired by
Clear Channel in May 2006 when his trashy mouth
antics on WWPR brought pressure from powerful
They are said to replace a Russian music format on
Long Islands WNYZ.
= = = = =
The trademark harmonizing of the Eagles
with 20 great songs.
In its first week of release it topped the charts,
as well it should.
Our early favorites:
�I Don�t Want To Hear Anymore�
�No More Cloudy Days�
(Sample them here)
Radio, take your pick�each cut is a
magnet for listeners.